Cyber-Bullying is Just Bullying

There’s a saying that the music is not in the piano and, in the same way, the learning is not in the device.

One could add, “Bullying is not in the software, app or device”.

Social Media in and of itself is not “Harmful”.  Bullying is harmful, the medium is not.  The medium does make it easier to be a bully.

Social Media is not under the control of schools or parents and there are at least a dozen social apps doing the same thing for any one app currently the rage, or a school is considering banning.

Blocking the media is an impossible task.

A progrom of abstinence against any one app, software or device will only make it more sought after.  Over the years, abstinence has not worked well with alcohol or teen sex.

Blaming the media will not help.  It’s like calling pencils “harmful” because anonymous notes can be written with them.

“In fact, pencils don’t natively identify the user when students use them to communicate (many times without the teacher’s knowledge).  The user has to decide to write their name on a note for the user to be identified.”

Sounds ridiculous, but it’s a sentence from a school system’s memo about why a certain social media should be banned, with the word pencil inserted.

Back in the day, nobody blamed the pencil, or the bathroom wall for that matter.

Jargon like “Cyber-Bullying” and “Digital Learning” is made up by marketing people selling something. Like many people selling added security, scare tactics work best.

Imagine what type of pencil school systems would have to buy if pencils were held to the same standards as collaborative technology.  A pencil that identifies the user, keeps a draft of every draft the student writes and keeps a draft and identifies the student and what they wrote on any other student’s paper he or she might write on.  What, about $45K per writing utensil?

Just a thought, so the way we speak about this subject going forward makes sense.

It’s a matter of not bullying in any medium.

A Different Type of Student Newspaper

I’ve got a new gig as Journalism and Media Adviser at a public high school here in the same system in which I’ve been working.

We created an online newspaper. It’s interesting. The high school is what is called “Alternative” which means we have students who are just a little too grown up to put up with cheer leaders and jocks.

We have 250-some students working a 4-block schedule and no football team or other sports.

We do have 46 some parents among our student body and a host of other uber-talented folks who have a lot to say.

The new newspaper, The Mountain View Mirror, can be found at

Here’s the 101st post, which I wrote about reaching 100.

A Note To Staff About K-5 Social Media Use


Please don’t be shocked when you find out during my Internet Safety class that all or most of your students have personal Facebook accounts.

Your class is not alone.

We want to foster conversation about how to stay safe online.  Admonishing your students that they must be 14 to have a Facebook account simply stops the conversation.  We need to have an open dialog about how to stay safe online.

Telling them not to use Facebook or Twitter simply doesn’t work.  Pointing out they lied to get an account doesn’t help during the lesson.  It’s something to point out later.

Over the past five years I’ve asked classes at all our grade levels what they do online.

There has been a general progression down through the grade levels of social media use.

Five years ago, the numbers looked like this:

5th Grade:  90%+ used Facebook or other social media

4th Grade:  40% used Facebook or other social media

3rd Grade:  One or Two students per class had myspace or facebook.


Last year:

5th & 4th Grade:  90%

3rd Grade:  55%

2nd Grade:  One or Two students per class


This year, preliminary results find nearly 45% of 2nd graders have personal Facebook accounts.  I’m doing my first 3rd Grade class this afternoon, but if the progression holds they should be above 90%.

We need to make sure teachers don’t react negatively.  When students feel they are doing something wrong, they won’t talk about it or get the help they need.


Delicious Launched Revamp Overnight

If you were a heavy bundles user, you are a bit nailed. They deleted all bundles and started “stacks.”

Here’s a video about stacks.

Stacks makes sharing bookmarks with your class more visual.

Otherwise, your links are all still intact.
There are other enhancements to the look and feel. Creating an account is easier.
It’s nice the site was picked up with folks with deep pockets and a vision of what to do with social bookmarking.